Review – Up Through Endless Ranks of Angels by Jaroslav Vajda

Review – Up Through Endless Ranks of Angels by Jaroslav Vajda

As we celebrate the Ascension of Jesus today, Pastors Nathanael Mayhew and Rob Sauers review and discuss the modern Ascension Day hymn, “Up Through Endless Ranks of Angels” (Hymn 737 in “Worship Supplement 2000”).  The author of this hymn was a 20th Century Lutheran Hymn writer who is probably best known for writing “Go My Children with My Blessing” (Hymn 800 in “Worship Supplement 2000”).  This hymn depicts the ascension of Jesus after completing the work of salvation for sinners and highlights beautifully the nature of Christ as true Man and as our acceptable sacrifice before God.  It also brings out the Holy Spirit’s work of Sanctification in our lives today as we await the return of our ascended Savior and look forward to the day when we will be with our Triune God for eternity. 

Word of the Week: ASCENSION

Word of the Week: ASCENSION

In our Word of the Week, Pastor Mark Tiefel defines the word Ascension.  On Thursday of this week the church celebrates Ascension Day, when after 40 day of appearing to His disciples after His resurrection, Jesus ascended back into heaven.  The events of His ascension are recorded in Acts as well as Luke and Mark.  It is also confessed in our Creeds when we say that Jesus has “ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.”  Because Jesus has ascended into heaven, we have the confidence before the Father, because He serves as our Intercessor and Mediatior.  Just as He ascended into heaven, so He will come again to judge the world and so we proclaim His word so that others may hear, believe and be prepared for that Day! 

Bible Study – James

Bible Study – James

Today, Pastors Mark Tiefel and Nathanael Mayhew delve into the difficult New Testament letter of James.  Who is the James the wrote this letter?  What is the relationship between works and faith, and how can we reconcile what James write about works with what Paul writes about faith?  How does this letter apply to our lives today and our calling as Christians?  How are we to respond to sin in the our fellow believers and in the world around us?  These are just a few of the questions that they will consider as they dig into this valuable letter. We hope that you will join us!

Word of the Week: MOTHERHOOD

Word of the Week: MOTHERHOOD

In our Word of the Week, Pastor Mark Tiefel takes a Biblical look at the topic of Motherhood.  Through the Old and New Testaments, God gives us a beautiful picture of what He has designed motherhood to be.  While our world continues to rebel against and even reject God’s plan for motherhood, God’s promise of blessing remains in the calling of mothers.  He has designed the family in a very specific way, with fathers and mothers working together to bring up a new generation who will know and Him and the salvation He has accomplished in Jesus.

Word of the Week: HALLOW

Word of the Week: HALLOW

In our Word of the Week, Pastor Rob Sauers defines the word “hallow.”  The word hallow is a synonym of the word saint.  We see it in the word “Halloween” which is a shortened form of “All Hallows’ Eve” or “All Saint’s Eve.”  We are probably most familiar with the word “hallow” when we’re praying the Lord’s Prayer.  In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word means to “set apart,” “devote,” “consecrate,” “make holy.” So the word is often used of people or things in connection with the worship of God (See Exodus 29:21 and Exodus 40:9).  Everything that was used in the worship of God in the Old Testament was to be hallowed, sanctified, set apart – and this was meant, in part, to drive home the fact that God alone is holy.

When Jesus teaches His disciples to pray, he begins by saying, “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.” (Matthew 6:9). So how do we hallow God’s name? First of all, we hallow God’s name when we preach and teach what God’s Word says in all of it’s truth and purity. Secondly, we hallow God’s name by living a godly life. And so we pray that God would grant that we would hallow His name in all we say and do. 

CPR – Stewardship

CPR – Stewardship

In this CPR episode, Pastors Neal Radichel and Mark Teifel discuss the topic of Christian stewardship.  Stewardship is how we make use of the gifts and abilities that God gives to each one of us.  God wants us to be good stewards or “caretakers” of all that He has given.  These things are not ours, but the Lord’s, and He has entrusted them to us for a time to be used to and for His glory.  They will discuss stewarship in many areas of our lives and in using our time, talents and treasures. 

Word of the Week: RESURRECTION

Word of the Week: RESURRECTION

In the afterglow of the celebration of Jesus’ victory over death we take a look at the word “resurrection” on this Easter Monday.  The resurrection of Jesus, while denied and rejected by many, has a great deal of evidence to support it.  1) The resurrection is prophecied in the Old Testament and many places.  Job (19:23-27) refers not only to the resurrection of Jesus, but also our resurrection on the last day.  2) Jesus Himself foretold His own resurrection (Luke 18:31-33) as well as our resurrection from death (John 14:19).  3) The tomb of Jesus was empty.  If Jesus had not risen from the dead, the authorities simply would have had to produce the body of Jesus to remove all doubt.  4) The followers of Jesus boldly proclaimed the resurrection of Jesus, and many gave their lives for that truth.  Who would give their life for a lie?  5) There are examples of other resurrections in the Old Testament (2 Kings 4:18-37), the Ministry of Jesus (Luke 7:11-16; Mark 5:35-42; and John 11), and in the ministry of the apostles (Acts 9:37-42; 20:9-12).  God has given us plenty of evidence to see that the resurrection is true for Jesus, and for us. What hope and comfort is ours in the resurrection of Jesus who died for our sins and was raised for our justification!

REVIEW: Batman vs. Superman Movie (Good Friday?)

REVIEW: Batman vs. Superman Movie (Good Friday?)

On Good Friday in 2016, the movie Batman vs Superman was released and made quite a stir among Christians.  Why was this movie released on Good Friday?  Tune in to hear Pastors Nathanael Mayhew and Mark Tiefel discuss both the obvious and subtle religious and Christian themes throughout this movie.  In the epic battle between good and evil, who makes the decisions about what is morally right and wrong?  Are both characters presented to be of a Messianic type nature?  What philisophical truths are being made in this film?  Should the Christian even watch it?  These are some of the questions that are tackled in this episode as we review the challenges the Christian faces with modern day messages in movies and medias today.  

Bible Study – Luke and Holy Week

Bible Study – Luke and Holy Week

In our Bible Study today Pastors Rob Sauers and Nathanael Mayhew will be taking a closer look at the Gospel of Luke and his particular perspective of the life of Jesus during Holy Week. Luke was a Gentile who was used by the Holy Spirit to record these events for the benefit of other Gentiles in particular.  One of the major themes in Luke’s Gospel is to show that Jesus was the Savior of all people, not just Jews.  He shows how Jesus reaches out to the “less” of Jewish society, as well as foreigners in love and with compassion and forgiveness.  In this study they will look at some of the events of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday that are unique to the Gospel of Luke and which empahasize these themes. In addition they will look at some of the resurrection appearances of Jesus and His ascensionwhich revels the theme of Jesus being the Savior of all and our joy in praising Him for His work of salvation for us.  We hope you will benefit from this deeper look at the passion history of our Lord as recorded in the Gospel of Luke.

Lot’s Folly

Lot’s Folly

If you had to describe your approach to making decisions what would you say? Are you the type of person that goes with your gut? Do you like to plan everything out ahead of time? Do you follow the method of listing pros and cons? Decision-making often comes down to emotion and evidence. Depending on your personality you may lean one way or the other but most of us like to make decisions that are emotionally true to our hearts and also true to the evidence, to some degree at least.

Now, as tricky as the question above is to answer, here’s an even tougher one. What role does God play in your decisions? The answer may seem easy on the surface. Obviously, to the believer, God is important. But, is that actually the way you make your decisions or do you just say that? Is God the first one you turn to in moments of doubt, or do you consult a friend? Do you care more about what God says in His Word or what is posted on the internet or what comes from the talking heads on the TV? The thing is, if God is important to your decision-making process, you have to actually listen to what He says.

What most people seem to do is follow Lot’s folly? What do I mean? It comes from Genesis 13:10-13 –

Lot looked out and saw that the entire Jordan Valley as far as Zoar was well watered everywhere like the LORD’s garden and the land of Egypt. This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. 11 So Lot chose the entire Jordan Valley for himself. Then Lot journeyed eastward, and they separated from each other. 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, but Lot lived in the cities of the valley and set up his tent near Sodom. 13 Now the men of Sodom were evil, sinning greatly against the LORD.

Lot’s folly was that he blatantly ignored God when he made his decisions. He trusted himself. He gravitated toward what he wanted. He sought what was most prosperous by the world’s standards. And… he paid dearly for it. In the next chapter Lot was taken captive by a group of foreign kings. He ignored the chaotic nature of Sodom, with its rampant wickedness, and figured he’d be okay. He thought he could control the situation. In reality, it was far beyond Lot’s control and he was swept up in it. Once Abram rescued him you’d think Lot would have learned his lesson. You’d be wrong.

Lot returned to Sodom and continued to block out the Lord’s warning signs. Finally, God’s judgment could not be held back any longer and He sent two angels to get Lot out of the city (Genesis 19). What happened? The men of Sodom wanted to rape the angels and Lot offered his virgin daughters in their stead. How could one end up making such poor decisions? Answer: leave God out of it. Lot was spared that day, but his deliverance came at a cost as his wife perished in the process by disobeying the Lord’s command. Lot’s life held great promise. He had tremendous opportunities before him. It all changed the moment he chose Sodom, because their wickedness was great and they sinned against the LORD.

How does Lot’s folly continue today? It happens all the time, in many ways; whenever people think they can control situations that God warns about. A young person leaves church because they finally have freedom from their parent’s rules and they are ready to explore the world. A husband surfs around the internet trying to ignore daily stress and he is drawn to pornography, which promises excitement and acceptance. Netflix subscriptions, smart phone contracts, designer labels, food cravings, and more all make the annual budget, but offerings to church continue to decline. Consciences are acquitted by simply filling the pew yet ignored completely when it comes to loving those in need. Outcry for ivory tusks and eagles’ eggs resonates across the globe while the helpless plea of the unborn continues to fall on deaf ears. How easy is it to take God out of the decision-making process? Extremely. It happens all the time and in each case, Lot’s folly is repeated.

What are the consequences? Only time will tell for each person. But, even today we feel the weight. As Good Friday and Easter rapidly approach, we stand in unobstructed clarity at the horror of our sinful decisions; of every moment we have ignored God and bowed to our control of the situation instead.

Ye who think of sin but lightly, nor suppose the evil great.
Here may view its nature rightly, here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the sacrifice appointed, See who bears the awful load.
‘Tis the WORD, the LORD’S ANOINTED, Son of Man and Son of God (TLH 153 v.3).  

Let Lot’s folly be a reminder for you – both of the importance in truly making God part of your decision-making process, and the great consequence borne by Christ because we so often don’t. You will rejoice this Easter, and into the future, with real, living joy because you have a God and Savior who does care about you.